House Proposes Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act

This chart and the one below shows that the majority of windows in the northern zone have paybacks more than 10 years.

This chart and the one below shows that the majority of windows in the northern zone have paybacks more than 10 years.

In a rare display of bipartisanship, House Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) introduced a resolution aimed at increasing buildings’ energy efficiency.

According to a press release on Blackburn’s website, H.R. 5027, or the Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act, will “increase transparency and cost-effectiveness in the development of model energy codes” by more clearly defining “what technical assistance the Department of Energy (DOE) can provide in developing the code.”

“This strikes a proper cost-benefit balance by promoting the development of efficiency targets for buildings, while ensuring that homeowners and builders are not burdened by unreasonable regulations. Additionally, hard-working taxpayers are protected by a provision preventing federal funds from being used to advance code revisions proposed by special interest groups,” Blackburn says.

July14leadAAMAchart2Mike O’Brien, president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), is pleased with the proposal.

“WDMA welcomes this bipartisan legislation that promotes energy efficiency in homes and commercial buildings. It is important that energy codes be product neutral and allow for reasonable payback periods, and we are pleased that the bill also seeks to provide greater transparency for Department of Energy code change proposals,” he says.

Specifically, the bill would ensure that all DOE code change proposals are:

  • Made available to the public, including calculations on costs and savings;
  • Subject to the official rulemaking process, allowing for public comment; and
  • Taking into account small business concerns.

“Providing the 10 year payback stipulated in H.R. 5027 would be a challenge for many Energy Star compliant windows, particularly with the more aggressive Energy Star performance criteria slated to take effect in 2015,” says AAMA president and CEO Richard Walker. “While it’s always encouraging to see a bill with bipartisan sponsors, the distraction of the November elections and recent dismal record of House bills making it through the Senate are not encouraging signs. The bipartisan Shaheen-Portman Energy Savings and Industrial Competitive Act has been rattling around the halls of Congress for nearly three years now.”

John Floyd, principal of Ole South Properties in Nashville, adds, “This bill will help ensure that new homes become increasingly energy efficient, but not at a pace that the market cannot bear. Our buyers want to be assured that the additional cost comes with a reasonable payback so they can recoup the money they spent.”

Schrader, the bill’s cosponsor, says, “Ensuring the federal government is working for businesses and homeowners, and not against them, in helping to promote energy efficient buildings is the right policy approach, and the Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act will do just that.”

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